Review: Fallout 3 DLC Special

January 29, 2010, Author: Brian Gourlay

After the soul crushing disappointment of Operation: Anchorage, I started The Pitt nervously. It begins in a similar fashion to Anchorage, with The Lone Wanderer picking up a distress message directing you to Wernher, a slave who has just escaped from The Pitt and needs your help in liberating the city from the tyrannical Ashur. The citizens of the Pitt, the remains of Pittsburgh, are forced to work under gruelling conditions in a fully functioning steel mill, while suffering from the effects of the TDC virus. However rumblings that a cure for the disease, which mutates humans into the feral Trogs, are circulating among the slaves, which inspired Wernher to escape and call for help.

As you reach the train tunnel that leads to the Pitt, you’re told that you’ll not be able to return until you’ve finished your business there, and any companions will have to be left behind. To make matters worse, you have all of your hard earned possessions removed instantly since you’re sneaking into the city disguised as a slave. I could feel my expectations dropping as a sickening sense of deja vu began to creep in. Fortunately though, my fears weren’t entirely founded.

The Pitt still suffers from being completely detached from the rest of the game, but the missions that exist within the expansion itself are well conceived and vary nicely between double agent duties and actually being a slave. The plot itself is pretty interesting and gives you a few opportunities to give your moral compass a spin, with the conclusion in particular being very exciting and presenting one of the most difficult choices that I’ve had to make in the entire game.
The characters are also fleshed out much more effectively in The Pitt, Wernher and Ashur especially provide some interesting conversations. Not only that, but once I got into it I kind of enjoyed the feeling of having my gear taken away from me. It reminded me of how it felt to be the Lone Wanderer just leaving the Vault, having to scavenge for weapons, ammo and clothes. It reminded me what Fallout is all about, although that’s not to say I wasn’t extremely pleased to get my Power Armour back and start knocking some heads around.

One aspect that the expansion excels in is the depiction of the Pitt itself. It has a much more alive, industrial feel than the bleak, empty Wasteland and walking through the steel mill and the steelyard looks pretty amazing at times. The Pitt wasn’t able to escape the bombs and was annihilated just like everything else, so a lot of textures are reused (you can only get so many shades of grey) but watching imposing pieces of machinery clunk through their daily grind with fire shooting out from vats of burning metal looks pretty damn lovely at times.

All things considered The Pitt is a much more rewarding experience than Anchorage. As well as the missions being considerably more open ended, the new content that is introduced is a lot more useful in the long run, with the brutally effective Auto Axe being a particular favourite. It is quite short; you’ll be able to finish it in a few hours if you’re not going for the ridiculously outlandish goal of collecting every steel ingot in The Pitt, but if it comes to choosing a quick distraction from the Wasteland, I’d rather don my S&M style slave gear over liberating Alaska from the Commies any day.

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